SISE Group Project – Avonmouth Bridge Material Gathering

Production Journal

Today, myself and David went to gather more material for our SISE project. Our main aim was to further explore the area to take images back to the rest of the group who have yet to visit and to enable us to think about how we will use the area to best to create our final piece of work.

As well as gathering images in the immediate area, I had the chance to explore the nearby avonmouth village which was somewhere i’d not known about and was a source for some appealing images that showed the tight mix of residential and industrial buildings in the area.

While we gathered a number of fantastic images that will be useable in our pirce, our main aim was to gather some more interesting sounds as we had the use of some better equipment and the contact/underwater mics.

As it was a Sunday it was a lot quieter so we were able to isolate some of the more interesting sounds of the bridge more easily.

The contact mic once again was a really good choice when gathering interesting material. using the contact mic on the metal barriers on top we were able to create a unique sound that could be layered with other sounds to create a portrait or used on its own to highlight some of the more obscure sounds found in this location.

We were interested in testing out the waterproof mic and after a bit of debating about weather we thought the mic was really waterproof (it wasn’t ours to break) we decided to drop it down a water drain in the middle of the bridge. While we couldn’t really hear the results while we were there due to traffic noise, we were pleased to discover that we had recorded something that was quite surreal.

Overall I think the day was highly productive and it gave us some more ideas about what we wanted to include in the project and something more to give to the group to inspire them.

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SISE Group Project – Recce & Tutorial Meeting 2

In our previous meeting we discussed our ideas for the SISE group project, we favoured basing our sense of place project on a city tower block. Previous Meeting. During the week we tried to arrange to meetup and recci some locations and this proved difficult for people to commit to.

We finally managed to arrange a couple of hours this morning and we met up at the tower blocks in Redcliffe Bristol. We immediately discovered a problem accessing the site and had to resort to gathering material around the grounds of the tower blocks.  We got some interesting images and could visualise how the project might work if we were able to get access to the flats.

In our tutorial we discussed our problems and discussed how we should try and gain access to the site and engage with residents who might be happy and interested to help out in the project. I think it’s fair to say that there was a struggle getting motivated, especially as it was proving difficult to meet up as a group and we discussed this briefly.

Along with discussing the tower block ideas we also discussed my continued interest in doing a recce of Avonmouth motorway bridge and myself and David agreed to do a recci in the afternoon just to vary our options if we still encountered issues with access and motivation. During the tutorial Kathy kindly loaned me one of her home made contact mics along with a waterproof mic because I was interested in capturing obscure environmental sounds, we took this mic along to the bridge with us.

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When we visited the bridge it immediately felt like it would be an ideal place for our project, there was a vast array of audio and image opportunities and little restriction. It was surreal to see a housing estate split up so abruptly by a huge structure and left me wondering what it must be like to live in this locations. There was an OAP crossing a pedestrian crossing that seemed to lead nowhere and all around the light was blocked out by giant supports and scaffolding clad beams. Under the bridge there was nothing but gravel and rocks and immediately next to it were houses with gardens, trees and even birds and it felt like a huge contrast in a matter of a few metres and this was something that really interested me.

We captured a number of images to show to the rest of the group and also headed up the bridge and fixed the contact mic to the floor to experiment with sound options. The sounds I gathered of the cars crossing  a metal join on the bridge really inspired me and I could see how it could be used in a project.

We fed back our material to the group via facebook and are currently awaiting peoples thoughts on where we should base our final project. Although I agree with the concept of the tower block location I think based on our current speed of progress we wouldn’t have time to contact people and set up a situation where we could complete the project to a good standard. Using the bridge we could visit at any time and not necessarily in a group and combine our material to create a pretty good standard of work.

SISE Sound Individual Project Initial Recordings

For my individual SISE sound project I have decided to experiment using my kitchen to create a sense of space. I spend a lot of time working on my my computer in my kitchen and have noticed how many sounds there are constantly in the background  while I work.

I wanted to capture these sounds and build layers of them so to give a sense of place. I also wanted to amplify the sounds to represent a sense of overbearing stress on a persons concentration when trying to work in such an area.

Some of the sounds I captured will not be useful for my project but I captured them because they sounded interesting and i think could possibly used to start my own library of sounds that I could use in future projects.

 

I particularly liked my recordings of my freezer. I’ve nicknamed it ‘The Lonely Freezer’ because of the depressing sound the door makes when opening. On my recording internally of the freezer if you listen carefully you can also hear ice being formed on the mic which I found fascinating while initially experimenting with sound.

Below is a link to the full playlist of sounds I captured.

Research Sound Sculpter – Bill Fontana

Bill Fontana, initially a composer but I think his recent work ties in with the work we have been concentrating on in our SISE project in terms of creating a sense of place. Fontana became interested in exploring how every day acoustics of the world can become musical. He has recorded a number of sound portraits around the world. Fontana presented the installation ‘Vertical Water’ in New Yorks Whitney museum in 1991, this sculpture involved the use of sound taken from Niagara falls played through speakers placed in the concrete facade of the museum Different frequencies were played from different speakers placed around the wall. The sound of the falls created an effect that masked out the general sound of the street.

“ Fontana’s sound environments renew our awareness of the places we inhabit and the
powerful role sound plays in both our sense of self and memory. Fontana’s work is
predicated on a sophisticated investigation into how we perceive sounds in the world.
He has created a series of compelling projects that subtly treat the interplay between the
origins of sounds and the contexts in which we perceive them, causing the viewer to
become conscious of himself and his senses as he hears and perceives anew the world he
inhabits”
John Hanhardt, Guggenheim Museum

This is the most inspirational soundscape for me so far by Bill Fontana of San Franciscos Golden Gate Bridge.  I was thinking of using bridges in my project an I think it would be really interesting to create something like this and relate it to images of the bridge.

The images put the audience at the location and we can relate to the sounds but without them (and with them to a point) the sounds are very unnerving especially the sound of the fog horn which also reminds me of the communication between the spaceship and scientists in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters’ movie from  1977